Store-Bought Gnocchi Is Perfect For Soaking Up The Vinegary Flavors In Pasta Salad

There's nothing refreshing and filling like a pasta salad. Cool and crisp with delicate pieces of pasta to bulk it up, it's the perfect meal, combining several beloved food groups. While penne and fusilli pasta are the typical carbs of choice, store-bought gnocchi is an underrated choice for pasta salads.

A popular pasta alternative, gnocchi's chewy texture is ideal for soaking up all of the zesty flavors within a pasta salad. Although it's technically a dumpling, we're going to ignore that since the carb is so incredible at stepping into roles that pasta usually occupies. Once you take a bite of the buttery flesh, all thoughts of its classifications are whisked away. It's a no-brainer to cover gnocchi in pesto or a creamy sauce, so putting it in pasta salad is yet another great idea. Not only does it taste extraordinary, but it comes together considerably fast.

In less than four minutes, you can have a batch of store-bought gnocchi that's ready to toss with the rest of your salad fillings, making it the ideal ingredient for a quick pasta salad. Plus, it's versatile in how it's prepared. Boiling gnocchi is a popular method, but the potato pasta can also be air-fried, roasted, or pan-fried for a texture that's crisp on the outside with a tender interior.

Use gnocchi in these pasta salad recipes

One of the best parts about subbing pasta for gnocchi is the array of incredible stuffed gnocchi options you can utilize. The regular potato version is great, but think about how much better zippy tuna pasta salad would be if it contained cheese-stuffed gnocchi. The tangy flavors of mozzarella or ricotta in gnocchi bring a burst of flavor to each bite of the salad. Simmer the gnocchi until it rises and remove immediately. If overcooked, it turns mushy, which isn't ideal for a pasta salad.

If you don't want to risk overly sticky gnocchi, air-frying them is a good option, especially when added to Mandarin chicken pasta salad. When air-fried with oil for around 15 minutes at 390 degrees Fahrenheit, you'll get crisp gnocchi that bring texture and flavor to the zesty salad. Balanced by juicy pieces of Mandarin oranges and creamy avocado, air-fried gnocchi elevates this pasta salad beautifully.

Turn your Tuscan kale and cranberry salad into a lush pasta salad with pumpkin gnocchi. The buttery, sweet gnocchi temper bitter kale while complementing the fresh, juicy cranberries. Roast the gnocchi for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit before tossing them with the kale, cranberries, pecans, feta, and red onions.